Who the bleep is the NRA?

December 22, 2012

Who the bleep is the NRA?

And other social media DOHs.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

I find myself unable to express illuminating feelings and thoughts about the evil that has happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Or the loss and grief of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, family, friends and neighbors.

But worse than this, I fear that the evil is not finished. It stretches out from Newtown to all of the world.

The full horror and impact of this evil remains to be seen.

I fear that we cannot yet see how broken our world was broke by those terrible shots.

Evil, too, is difficult to speak about. It does not parse easily – regardless of the abounding interpreters, compilers and commentators. Perhaps, this is why evil always takes us by surprise.

Evil, itself, seems intangible and fictitious. Yet it is real as you. And me.

It has dreadful impact – even if a particular instance of evil has no real or apparent causalities.

And, evil, it ever lurks in all of our hearts, minds and spirit.

Beyond this fact, I do not understand much more about evil.

The National Rifle Association

What does all this have to do with the NRA?

Writes Gary Fields, Stephanie Blanchero and Colleen McCain Nelson in the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—The nation’s biggest gun-rights lobby called Friday for placing an armed security guard at every school, as it for the first time entered the re-energized public debate over gun laws in the aftermath of last week’s school shooting in Connecticut.

In fact, the NRA has pledged to immediately invest significant resources (money, know how, and people) in support of the creation of a national school safety and security program.

Who else has pledged themselves to today’s task of protecting American children?

CNN?  The Wall Street Journal? The New York Times?

None.

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, decried the NRA proposal to be “irresponsible and dangerous.”

Irresponsible and dangerous as a bank, a government building, an airport, an embassy, etc.?

“Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses,” added Weingarten as he clicked his ruby heels.

There’s no place like home.

The NRA (a.k.a. The National Rifle Association) is a non-profit organization that represents the specific and express interests of millions of U.S. citizens. Those interests can be characterized as an interest in preserving a Constitutional right to own and bear arms for the purpose of defense – mostly against (but not limited to) tyranny. In 2008 and 2010, The United States Supreme Court expanded our understanding of the Second Amendment in District of Columbia v. Heller to include the individual’s right to possess and use a firearm in the lawful exercise of personal self-defense.

The NRA, in other words, represents the interests and beliefs of some Americans who especially hold dear the promises and guarantees of the Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution.

There are other Americans, however, that want you to think that the NRA is something else – the them. That the NRA does not speak on behalf of Americans who believe (rightly or wrongly) in the wisdom of the Law of the land, of the founding fathers, and the cornerstones of the Republic.

It is this kind of divisive propaganda (the us and them mentality) which we must all resist – a word-craft that reminds me of the past and terrible argument that ignored the imperative of the American Declaration of Independence and set brother against brother.

That all men are created equal in human dignity and providence.

What would Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, have said of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Dream?

Americans may be divided in opinion about the relevance of the U.S. Constitution to the 21st Century. Or the relevance of the Bill of Rights and/or specific Amendments. A great and passionate debate may, in fact, be in the stirring. But let us not forget that we are all Americans in this debate – where ever you are.

It’s not about us or them. Or just about crazy Americans. The questions and debate belongs to us (the human species) and we must individually wrestle with them in the face of fear, pain, loss, and wisdom.

It is, yes, all about we. We the people (of the world) must seek good answers and truer questions – together.

Scapegoats, however, speak to none of our intimate questions about the meaning of life, liberty and our happiness. Scapegoats only fuel contempt, misunderstanding, ignorance, brutality, terror, loss, and hate. The Israel and Palestine problem is an illuminating example.

Yes, Virginia. Evil will grow greater – if and only if – you believe or act otherwise.

Stan Faryna
21 December 2012
Fairfax, Virginia


A user-centric and humanistic paradigm for privacy and #dignity

March 30, 2012

A user-centric and humanistic paradigm for privacy and dignity

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Fred Wilson, a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures, pokes the hornet’s nest with Some Thoughts on Online Privacy. In fact, the FTC has recently proposed the need for urgent legislation on the matter. Seth Godin, however, has suggested that our expectations for confidentiality of our online activity, transactions, and activities is a quixiotic quest.

Aretha Franklin, Respect

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The Scourge of Inexorable Corruption 1.4

March 11, 2011

You can read the previous post in this multi-post commentary here.

Fight On!

What we all want is a better world. A better life. Isn’t that what we really believe Democracy and Freedom is all about?!

Such democracy is not something we can purchase at a store – online or offline. It’s not a one time, one click purchase. No government can deliver on that. For each of us, it is a life-long commitment to demanding it from each other -demanding the things that matter most. And not just demanding those things – but also giving them. Read the rest of this entry »


The Scourge of Inexorable Corruption 1.2

March 11, 2011

You can read the previous post in this multi-post commentary here.

Complicity

Our world seeks change. And it is ours to drive that change – a change that leaves the world a better place than the world which we received into our servant hands. Change, however, must begin with our refusal to be complicit in wrong-doing.

And that’s no easy thing to do.

In the case of Realitatea-Catavencu v. The Romanian People, the complicity of Romanian journalists and media agencies in downplaying the investigation of fraud and tax evasion is nothing less than a betrayal of the people’s trust in main stream and new media.

The irony is not lost on me when journalists who decry the failure of the Romanian government are complicit in corporate schemes of tax evasion that disable the Romanian economy.

This is not unique to Romania; it happens everywhere for one reason or another.

As Jeff Jarvis, Director of the interactive journalism program at City University of New York, has noted on Twitter and elsewhere, main stream and new media (a la AOL) increasingly conspire with governments, corporations and powerful interest groups. For profit, obviously. Despite the messiness of citizen journalism, Jarvis believes that the truth is out there. Read the rest of this entry »


The Scourge of Inexorable Corruption 1.1

March 11, 2011

You can read the previous post in this multi-post commentary here.

Case Study in Corruption: Realitatea-Catavencu defrauds the Romanian People

The present anti-corruption investigation of the Romanian Press agency, Realitatea-Catavencu, is an interesting example of how difficult it is to overcome corruption.

Realitatea-Catavencu is a major media group in Romania that includes television, radio, print and new media networks including The Money Channel, Academia Catavencu and Realitatea TV (one of the leading news channels in Romania). This group is currently being investigated for tax-evasion practices on a sophisticated level. In lieu of a complete salary payment that is commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of a position at Realitatea-Catavencu, employees receive part of their salary in the form of compensation for intellectual property contributions.

In other words, Realitatea-Catavencu paid employees the minimum salary as salary and additional amounts of a negotiated salary through compensation for intellectual property. Realitatea-Catavencu used this scheme to evade the higher taxes on officially registered salaries. Salary taxes and various mandatory contributions can reflect up to 100% of a net salary, whereas taxes for compensation for intellectual property is about 16% . Read the rest of this entry »


The Scourge of Inexorable Corruption 1.0

March 11, 2011

The following commentary was first published in Servant Hearts.

The struggle for a better world

For those who share in the hope for a better world, there is a keen awareness that our pluralistic hope includes the expectation that good government (or state) is key. A more perfect union, in other words. A more perfect union is one where the political union of the will and aspirations of the many is dedicated to the common good founded upon the dignity, virtue and destiny of the human person.

When the Egyptians succeeded in ousting President Hosni Mubarak, people across the globe were inspired. This collective inspiration is a testament to everyone’s shared hope for a better world. The protests spreading across the Pan-Arabic world in concert with each other also suggests that such hope is basic to all.

Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Supreme Court Embraces the Second Amendment

June 26, 2008

Thursday, 26 June 2008

In America, the rights of the individual prevail today over the sometimes questionable prerogative of state and government.

The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutional right of an American to have a gun and, especially, for the purpose of self-defense in one’s home. This individual right has been clearly acknowledged independent of the necessities of military or militia service, duty and training. The ruling comes out of the Court’s review of District of Columbia v. Heller. Additionally: Washington, D.C.’s many year ban on handguns and a mandatory requirement for gun locks was deemed unconstitutional.

District of Columbia v. Heller is the most important Second Amendment case in American history. Today’s decision is a historical decision that will guide the way courts and States consider questions about the American right of responsible citizens to own a gun for a long time to come. The American right of an individual for self defense is more clearly defined as a Constitutional right.

This historical decision represents the deeply considered and powerful reasoning of Justice Antonin Scalia who led the majority opinion. According to Georgetown University Law Professor Randy Barnett, Justice Scalia’s opinion “is the clearest, most careful interpretation of the meaning of the Constitution ever to be adopted by a majority of the Supreme Court.”

This opinion, writes Barnett in The Wall Street Journal, “is the finest example of what is now called original public meaning jurisprudence ever adopted by the Supreme Court.”

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NATO Summit in Bucharest may have been too big for Romania

April 2, 2008

02 April

NATO Summit in Bucharest

As the minutes tick closer to the start of today’s NATO Summit in Bucharest, some Romanian bloggers question the zeal of their leaders in ensuring there is neither public protest nor questions to the value of NATO for Romania or other European states- neither in Bucharest nor Romania in general. Although an outspoken and public critic of the flagging commitment of other NATO members, Romanian President Traian Basescu believes that NATO remains a national priority for Romania.

Yesterday’s press conference on the arrival of President Bush and the upcoming NATO Summit in the clip below:

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Recently, Basescu challenged Russia’s opposition to NATO, telling Russia that its time now to work with NATO- and not against it. Among the public items on Basescu’s agenda: an anti-ballistic missile shield for Romania provided by the US or NATO, renewal and enlargement of Romanian troop commitment in Afghanistan, security policy regarding energy, and NATO acceptance of requests to be considered in the enlargement of NATO. Included in these requests are those from Albania, Georgia, Macedonia, and Ukraine.
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Security Measures of Summit Compromises Free Speech and Open Borders to EU citizens

April 1, 2008

NATO’s Bucharest Summit

As I have written elsewhere, the NATO Summit in Bucharest will determine the future of NATO for many years to come. Some (mostly harmless) questions in my mind:

Will European members rediscover a common will regarding redefined global goals and strategy of the alliance?

Will NATO come to represent something more than an American heavy hand in the European pie or merely as a gate keeper for nations seeking membership in the European Union?

Since the Cold War is over, how will NATO assure Russia that NATO plays a new role in international politics – a role that supports common economic interests including reasonable Russian interests?

Related to the NATO Summit in Bucharest, but more immediately interesting than the NATO specific questions on my mind is… recent authoritarian moves of the Romanian government to prevent dissenting opinion and protest about NATO in the Romanian public square.

Background music for your reading: Marilyn Manson, Nobodies

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Why Romania is important

Why is Romania so important to the US and NATO?

I’m not talking about the Romanian hotties- though there is much to be said about that subject. Some local hot shots are even grumbling that all the working girls are booked solid for the Summit. Rumors have it that the Italian and French diplomats may have arrived a bit in advance of the Summit to log some quality fly time.
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